I picked up this audiobook in hopes of broadening my world view as I'd never read Rand before. I found her theoretical writing to be thoughtful and enlightening when applied to how individuals should conduct their own lives according to their personal values. I was troubled, however, with the sections dealing with public policy (or lack thereof) and public life. Rand seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding of human nature, of the value of culture, and of the sustainability of widespread systems.
I will say that the reader, C. M. Hernert, is excellent.
Carrolly Erickson is no Alison Weir, but this was still a solid read.
I would have appreciated it if the reader, Nelson Runger, made it clearer when he was reading quoted material. Then again, maybe there just weren't as many quotes in this book as I expected.
I like Elizabeth Warren as both a person and a politician, but this book wasn't what I was hoping to read. I was hoping for something more enlightening in terms of the theory and practice of financial policy. Instead, this book is more of an autobiography of Warren's own journey as a public figure.
That said, the story was compelling, and her communication style is both clear and endearing.
Stephen Colbert is a top-notch comedian, and I'm a longtime fan. This book lives up to his caliber. The writing is excellent and the performance employs great comedic timing.
I will say, however, that this audiobook wasn't really anything special compared to just watching the show. In hindsight, I probably wouldn't have spent my credit on the book.
As a sex-positive feminist who was raised in the Mormon tradition and learned as a young adult that it wasn't for me, I found this book to be very moving on a personal level. Nicole Hardy does an excellent job of conveying how frustrating a situation it is to be a woman with a prescribed life pattern set before you, not having your life pan out that way through no fault of your own, and being compelled to blaze new trails to self-actualization.
I had a hard time putting this book down, so to speak. I even got teary in a few parts.
Nicole Hardy's writing style and delivery are both articulate and sincere.
The Bible is what it is. Long, epic, poetic, grandiose, and very dull at times. I've begun reading it in print version many times, often only making it through Exodus before getting bored. Listening to Max McLean's performance, however, made it much easier to get through. His delivery is dramatic and dignified, like listening to a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. I finished it in a matter of months!
I should preview my remarks by disclosing that I read this book for research purposes.
Several things about this story bothered me. Most importantly, it appears that E.L. James either misunderstands or chooses to ignore a few very important aspects of healthy BDSM relationships, namely the need for aftercare and the nature of consent. Participation in a BDSM scene can be extremely physically and psychologically demanding for a submissive, and therefore, it is essential for a Dominant to provide physical and emotional comfort after a scene has ended. This allows the submissive to wind down, rest, and emotionally recover. If the Dominant instead just leaves the submissive after a scene (as Grey does), the entire experience is more likely to psychologically register as traumatic for the submissive. As far as consent goes, I was alarmed that Grey effectively manipulates a sweet naïve girl into doing his bidding by taking advantage of her attraction to him. Anastasia Steele never appears to fully understand and accept (with enthusiasm!) what is about to happen to her before the fact. Without all partners fully understanding and embracing everything going forward, what you have on your hands is abuse, not healthy BDSM.
Becca Battoe's performance is more-or-less solid. She does well with what she's given to work with. My only complaints are her tendencies to pronounce "Err..." rather than "Uhh..." (not seeming to understand that "er" is how British people, like E.L. James, write the word that is spoken as "uh") and her handling of male voices. When speaking for any of the male characters, she sounds ... well, like a young woman imitating a man. She drops her voice half an octave and ignores the fact that men use less inflection than women, not more. The result is too cheesy to be sexy.
David Sedaris, as always, delivers a thoughtful and witty reflection on his own experiences. As a long-time fan, I would definitely recommend this book, though I didn't find it as consistently golden as some of his other works. He's not a young man any more, and some of his opinions (notably on politics) can get tiresome at times.
For a first-time reader of Sedaris's work, I would more readily recommend "Me Talk Pretty One Day", "Holidays On Ice", or "When You Are Engulfed In Flames".
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